After 33 years with the district, 65-year-old HISD Secondary Curriculum Manager Angela Miller had every intention of retiring at the end of the 2013 school year. That was until she was tapped this past spring to serve on a committee charged with implementing the district’s PowerUp initiative.
“This program is so exciting in terms of what it’s going to do for students and teachers that I knew I couldn’t leave,” said Miller. “I had to stick around and be a part of this.”
Miller and her colleagues in the HISD Curriculum Department are busy developing resources, tools, and strategies for teachers to use in integrating technology into their lesson plans this school year. Creating digital-age instruction that will engage students in highly interactive, transformational learning is a key component of PowerUp, which will eventually equip every HISD high school student with a laptop they can use at school and take home at night.
“This is about more than just giving kids a laptop,” said Miller. “It’s about empowering our students to become the drivers of their own learning and connecting them with resources and opportunities beyond the walls of the classroom.”
This week, teachers at Sam Houston, Chavez, and Kashmere high schools are receiving their own laptops. They, along with teachers at eight other PowerUp campuses, will train with the Curriculum, Professional Development, and Instructional Technology departments for an entire semester before students receive their own computers in January 2014.
The goal is to provide teachers with everything they need to plan effective instruction using technology, not teach the technology itself. Those receiving laptops and training at the 11 pilot schools in the program have been tapped with helping their colleagues embrace the initiative and its potential.
“I am definitely not a digital native, but I am having the time of my life working on PowerUp.” said Miller. “The future is now.”
Below are tweets from teachers and administrators that are part of the PowerUp program.